Supporting Africa's blue economy


ISA and the the African Mineral Development Centre (AMDC) of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (since transferred to the African Union) first registered this Voluntary Commitment at the 2017 UN Ocean Conference. The commitment was renewed at the 2022 UN Ocean Conference as #OceanAction40945. It aims at promoting the engagement of African States in the regime of the Area and to facilitate the development of appropriate institutions at national level.

Indeed, 38 of the 54 African States are coastal States. Maritime zones under Africa’s jurisdiction include about 13 million square kilometres with approximately 6.5 million square kilometres over the continental shelf.

The wealth of natural resources, which includes living and non-living marine resources that are to be found in the oceans and seas surrounding the African continent, has led to a growing interest in the sustainable development of the African blue economy. This is reflected in several programmatic documents recently adopted by the African Union.

Despite this, no African State has engaged in any activity in the Area as yet.

Voluntary commitment 6 contributes to the following SDGs:


The Africa Deep Seabed Resources (ADSR) project

The commitment is being enacted through the Africa Deep Seabed Resources (ADSR) project implemented by ISA in partnership with the African Union and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).

The ADSR project is funded thanks to grants received from NORAD (USD500,000) and the African Development Bank (USD25,000) as well as in-kind contributions received from the United Kingdom, Global Sea Mineral Resources NV and South Africa.

The ADSR project was officially launched at a high-level side event organized by ISA in partnership with AMDC on the side-lines of the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference, held in Nairobi in November 2018.

All activities of the project are undertaken in close cooperation with States parties to UNCLOS, relevant international and regional organizations, and academia.

Regional workshops

A key component of the ADSR project lies in the organization of five workshops, one in each African region.

Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire – October 2018

The first workshop brought together representatives of francophone African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo)  as well as international and regional organizations, the scientific community and academia.

Pretoria, South Africa – May 2019

The second workshop was organized in partnership with the Government of South Africa and the African Union in Pretoria. The Pretoria workshop provided the opportunity for 40 government representatives from Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, South Africa and Zambia to attend and participate. Representatives of ISA, including members of the LTC, also attended, as well as those of the African Union (AU), the Office of Legal Affairs of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea of the United Nations Secretariat (DOALOS) and the Kingdom of Norway. Also, several experts from Africa were also in attendance.

Virtual – June 2021

The third workshop took place virtually in June 2021. It was hosted jointly by ISA and Mauritius with the support of the African Union and NORAD and brought together key stakeholders and experts including official representatives from Comoros, Kenya, Mauritius, Madagascar, Rwanda, Tanzania, Seychelles and Somalia.

Abuja, Nigeria – October 2022

The fourth workshop was hosted jointly by ISA and the Federal Republic of Nigeria with the support of the African Union and NORAD. It brought together key stakeholders and experts including official representatives of Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.

ADSR Experts

Another essential key component of the ADSR project consists in the deployment of 10 national experts, including five women, from African States within the Secretariat of ISA. The main objective of such secondments is two-fold. First, to build on existing capacity-building initiatives to provide national experts with technical skills on deep-seabed related matters. Second, to enable the ISA Secretariat to benefit from the contribution of such experts with a view to advancing specific tasks identified in partnership with the Legal and Technical Commission (LTC).

The following experts were selected for deployment to the ISA Secretariat among over 50 applicants. Deployments were initially scheduled in 2020. However, due to the global pandemic of COVID-19, deployments will take place on a rolling basis. As of January 2022, five experts have been deployed.

Name Field of expertise Country Name Field of expertise Country
Ms. Judith A. OWUSU Geology Ghana Ms. Lucy NJUE Geology Kenya
Ms. Tini GUITOBA Ocean Policy Togo Mr. Michel SJIMGOU DJOMENI Ocean Policy Cameroon
Mr. Gerald MWILA Geology Zambia Mr. John Astony Mataro Geology Tanzania
Mr. Samuel POPOOLA Geology Nigeria Mr. Feuwo Nicodeme Noel Geology Cameroon
Mr. Godwin DIMIKE Ocean Policy Nigeria Ms. Linda Ansu-Kyeremeh Ocean Policy Ghana